Sunday, October 26, 2008

Unqualified Disaster!!

I woke up 10 in the morning. It seemed to be a fine day as usual. The day before only I had work and I was dead tired so I had decided to have a good sleep and enjoy the whole day after 2 days of continuous work. This day also happened to be the day when my mom and dad were to be back from Singapore.

My plan for the day was simple!

1. To laze around until 4 pm
2. Take the car from my cousin
3. Dinner with friends in dhaba
4. Pick my parents from airport

If football is my first wife, then my car I can deign it to be my scandal. :P While I was on the way, I saw a deadly gang fight near a wine shop. It was really shocking as I saw those people beating one another using the bottles and that scene was horrible. I got really disturbed seeing that and had this strange feeling of something bad happening to me that day. But at the same time the thought of having the car back after a long time and roaming around the city in it made me feel slightly better.

As soon as I got the car, I went to dhaba to have dinner with my friends. We went there at around 8.30 pm. My moms flight was scheduled at 1030 pm and I was there in dhaba until around 10 pm. It was a fine dinner and everything was smooth until disaster struck while executing my last and final plan of the day, to pick my mom in airport!

You might feel that im showing off but before I explain what exactly the disaster was, I’d like to tell that my driving ability is something I’ve always been proud of. I am one who never likes to be distracted by anything while driving, my full concentration will always be on the road whether I’m driving a car or riding a bike. I obey all the rules and ive always kept up my safety measures while driving.

I was nearing nandanam signal. It was a 3 lane road. I was driving my car in the center lane accelerating at around 80 km/h. A mahindra scorpia car came speeding on the right lane and when at the point the scorpio car was just beside my car in centre lane, the scorpio driver abruptly tried to shift his car to my lane in order to overtake the car in front of his, in his lane, not noticing my car beside. I saw his car moving to my lane and when I realized he’s going to crash on my car, I immediately shifted my car to the leftmost lane to avoid both our cars to crash. Had our cars crashed it would’ve been deadly because he was clocking more than 80 km/h and mine was around the same speed. In that speed if the two cars had even kissed it would’ve been real bad. Before I had any time to even feel safe, I spotted one auto right in front of me just after shifting to left lane which I was initially blinded by another vehicle. As the auto was stationary I had to stop the vehicle within a second to avoid hitting it. I almost stood on the brakes. The breaking was as sudden as it could get but I couldn’t help but to knock my cars front left part onto that auto.

Although the impact wasn’t that bad the auto driver made use of this opportunity to put up a scene as though his whole auto was crushed. Within minutes many other auto drivers joined him and I knew all they want is money. I knew even if I explain to them the reason behind me hitting them they wouldn’t compromise for anything but money. So I told them ill bare the damage cost but to my horror they asked me Rs 10000 and leave, or else that he’ll wait for the police. He wasn’t even concerned about the passenger he was on with. There were 2 guys in the back seat of the auto, one working in HCL, and other in CTS. They happened to be room mates coming back from coimbatore after spending the holiday in their native place. One guy was fine but the other was in some sort of discomfort. I approached him and though he was able to talk there was actually some kind of water dripping from his nose. He had his head actually hit on the meter thing from that impact of my car hitting the auto.

There was a held up in that area as all the cars and motorist started slowing down at that place out of curiosity to see what was happening and having noticed that the traffic police who was at the signal came to the spot. The auto drivers started complaining to him and told him that I was drunk and driving the car and that I had hit his auto because I was drunk. I told the police that I’m not and he asked me to blow to verify it. He made them know that I wasn’t drunk and then he asked me to park the car at the side of the road and surrender the car keys. I knew that I was in trouble and the time was 10.30 pm. That’s when the flight was scheduled. I knew that the auto drivers will be making this a big issue so I immediately called my brother to arrange a travels car and pick my parents.

The traffic police immediately asked me to bring the guy who had a knock on his head to the hospital. Eventhough the guy seemed to be normal, but just the liquid dripping from his nose a little, the traffic police asked me to bring him to hospital just because that he got hit in the head. He told me head knocks can turn out to be serious and that it might not have immediate effect so he ordered me to take him to the hospital.

I took him to the hospital nearby. I explained to the doctor whatever that has happened and that guy was telling him how he got hit. Then the doctor told me that he wasn’t very sure whether the fluid is coming from the brain directly through skull or it was just from the nose remainings. However I tried to explain the doctor that it wasn’t a hard or serious accident and it might just be from the nose, he wasn’t in a position to conclude the case. Probably it being a private hospital even the doctor wanted to make it look serious and earn. Had it been a serious brain injury I don’t think he would be walking and talking normally. He looked perfectly fine to me. The doctor then made me do a scan on his skull for him and that itself had cost me Rs 2500. Once the scan report came he said the scan wasn’t very conclusive and that the guy should be kept in ICU for observation until the neuro doctor comes tomorrow. I was like totally shocked and somewhat frustrated because for such a small matter I was wondering why was everyone making it look so big.

The traffic police came to the hospital and he made it an accident case. The auto driver was also there as he wouldn’t leave without a compensation made to him. The police took the report from both auto driver and the other guy who was traveling in that auto. The auto driver was somewhat exaggerating the matter but I was helpless.

At that point of time, I had given up and I was preparing myself to face anything and everything. By that time my mom had arrived and she called me to ask what was happening. She sort of got worried and immediately wanted to come to the hospital. I told her the address and she was on her way. Meanwhile, I was asked to go to the police station as that auto driver and the guy wanted to register a case. Since the guy seemed educated I was asking him to settle the matter within ourselves and that I would compromise on the medical charges for his friend. He told, this being head injury and that his parents are not in station to be on the safer side he wanted to file a case.

It seemed fair to me so I agreed upon that and we all went to the police station. I was asked to surrender my license and car keys. The police got the complaint letter both from the auto driver and that guy. However he told that if the patient gets normal by the next day he will not make it a case and that he asked us to settle the matter within ourselves. We agreed upon that and we left the police station and we were asked to come back the next day 1 pm. The auto driver left and we both made our way back to the hospital. That guy was still in ICU. My mom had arrived by then. She spoke to that guys friends and asked if the injured guy is fine.

After about an hour I asked my mom to leave because she looked so tired. One of the guys friend agreed to stay at the hospital. It won’t be nice from our side if everyone leaves so I decided to stay and asked my mom to go and take rest. I was really down and felt really bad but I wasn’t able to share it with anyone because it was 3 in the morning. Though I was really tired I was unable to sleep in the chair where I was seated.

In the morning we went to the ICU and saw the guy. He seemed fine and he told there wasn’t any liquid dripping the whole night. That was some sort of a relief for me as that means any injury in his brain is ruled out. But still we were waiting for the confirmation from the neuro doctor. He came at around 9 in the morning. He saw the patient and he told he’s completely fine but he should remain under observation for one day.

I then took leave from the hospital to bath and get ready to be at the police station at 1pm. Everybody was under the impression that everything will be settled as that guy is normal now. His friend who wrote the complaint letter was willing to withdraw.

When everything seemed to be on track the real shock came when we went to the police station. The station inspector told he has already lodged an FIR and that the case is on. There is no way now anyone can back-off. That was really shocking because it would mean I’d be under arrest!

I started to raise my voice to that SI. I told him that hes not keeping his words and that he had told the case would not be valid if the patient was fine. But he told, it being a head injury anything can happen to him anytime and that its already registered. But the SI called me in silently and told me that whatever he has done would only benefit me and that’s because if the case becomes invalid I will be made to bare the charges for the hospital which would come to about Rs 25000 and the auto damages would cost me around Rs 10000. He asked me whether I want to spend Rs 35000 or pay a fine of Rs 1500.

This was really tricky. My grandfather is somewhat very influential person. I called him up to the station. He has contact with traffic police head and also the AC. He came to the station to help me out. He made me speak to the traffic police head and that guy also suggested me to do the same and that it would not affect me in any way in future. It wont be recorded as a black mark as its just an accident and not a murder or a crime or those sorts. It seemed logical to me as Id just have to spend around Rs 10000 for the entire process but the other option I’d be made to spend Rs 35000! My mom and grandfather gave me the assurance that this would not affect my career or life and so I agreed upon that.

I was officially arrested and released on bail :D Anyway it was just a normal formality. Nothing serious or I wasn’t put under any sort of embarrassment. In fact the traffic inspector and the SI became so friendly with me. :D

Everything was settled in the end and I went through a very valuable experience in my life which I would never forget. Through this process I got some good contacts which might help me out in future in case I get caught for small traffic cases such as not wearing helmet I can escape through the contact I’ve developed. :D

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